July 2, 2009
Today I want to talk about generousity... While I am living homeless, can only carry 1 each; tank, short-sleeve, long sleeved t-shirts, 1 each jeans, shorts, Capri's. Four underwear 2 bras 4 pair of socks. 1 hoodie, 1 top coat and 1 windbreaker. Last week my daughter phoned to say her friend will be visiting in this city and wants to take me out to a nice dinner. Awk, nothing to wear...LITERALLY. I've been checking the clothing depots all week. Money is tight, so even the thrift shop is out. But one keeps checking back, because donations come in every day. This afternoon I was chatting with a young worker at the drop-in and mentioned that I was killing time til the clothing depot opened across the street, because I was still trying to find a dress. Several minutes later I came out of the washroom and this lovely middle-aged Native woman stopped me. She asked, "Do you wear dresses?". I told her yes that I just happen to be looking for a dress. She said,"I don't wear this any more I hope it fits you." We introduced ourselves, and I thanked my sister Flora for her generousity. I am quite sure Flora does wear that dress, when everything you own must fit into a 2' x 2' locker you don't have anything you don't need or use.
Altruism is by definition giving without self interest in any form, by that definition even Mother Theresa wasn't altruistic. The two years that I am giving up of my life for Angels of the Road, isn't altruistic, I expect to learn enough out here to make me a better and more credible advocate for my homeless clients. I'm in it for the education. Mother Theresa was in it to please God. Altruism or true generousity is not a personality trait, it is an event. A moment in time and space when a perceived need is met by a perceive ability to satisfy that need. Flora saw my need, and she believed that in that moment she had the power to fulfill my need. I gratefully accepted the gift because there is a joy of the heart that comes from being able to give. And that moment of joy should not be denied to anyone, no matter how poor. My altruism comes not in the fact that I am making this journey but in all the moments in which I can reach out to those around me, with a kind word, a hug, or a smoke. Spreading the "sunshine that is Bonny" as we jokingly referred to it at the D.I.